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December 2016
Mobile Food Pantry Newsletter

Changes in 2017

  • Thank you for your continued support of those in need in our community. Winter can be an especially difficult time and Mobile Food Pantries are a great way to help meet the need! Just a reminder, our website lists all of our scheduled Mobile Pantries for the current month. Anyone can find this information by visiting FeedWM.org and clicking on the "Find Food" link.

  • Feeding America wants to help you promote your Mobile Pantry accurately. We encourage you to customize our sample press release and flyer; these can be found on our Mobile Food Pantry How-to webpage. If you wish to design your own publicity, please work with Food Bank staff to convey an accurate description of our Mobile Food Pantry Program. 

  • Starting January 1, 2017, our new late fee policy goes into effect. A copy of the letter mailed to all agencies effected by this change can be found at our website.

  • Use the button below to schedule your 2017 Mobile Pantry distributions! 
Schedule My Mobile!

Guidelines for OUTDOOR/Winter Mobile food pantries

  • Ideally it is best to host your winter distributions inside. If this is not possible, make sure your food does not freeze! Freezing can completely alter the taste and texture of your produce and will also affect dairy products. 
  • Root vegetables, such as carrots, beets, parsnips and rutabagas are heartier and able to tolerate cold weather well.
  • Greens, such as kale and lettuce, summer squash, cucumbers (and other vegetables with high water content) and most fruits are very sensitive to freezing temperatures. We recommend removing and bagging in smaller batches, enough to serve 10-20 families at a time, and leaving the remainder in the truck.
  • Covering food with blankets may slow the freezing process but will not completely eliminate the danger.  Under the right conditions, wind will increase the speed at which food freezes. 
  • If your fresh produce arrives with obvious temperature damage, please take a picture of the damaged produce, notify the driver and send it back to our warehouse for evaluation. Please do not distribute to your clients.
Click on this image for delicious squash recipes

squash

Many Mobile Pantry distributions contain squash but not everybody knows how delicious it can be. MSU Extension has a one page handout that might be useful to you and your recipients. Click on the following link for more information, visit msue.anr.msu.edu/uploads/resources/pdfs/Winter_Squash_(HNI19).pdf. Click on the image above for yummy recipes!

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL WITH SIGN-IN FORMS?


Regardless if you call it a sign-in, registration, intake log or form, it is very important to keep accurate records. These records must be retained for three (3) years. Why? Because it's a legal requirement. In addition, retaining records allows you to track trends among the population you serve (for example: seasonal increases or decreases in attendance).  
The primary purpose of the sign-in form is for food recalls. The contact information listed on the form is what your agency will use to contact recipients if there is ever a recall on food distributed through your Mobile Pantry. You will be notified through the primary email address listed on your account if there is a recall that may affect your agency.
Are you using the correct form? There are two types of sign-in forms, the USDA form and the Feeding America West Michigan form. The sign-in form you use is based on the products approved for your Mobile Pantry.  If you have signed up and met the government guidelines to received USDA products then you MUST use the USDA Self Declaration of Need form. This is the form that requires the recipient to sign. This form can be downloaded from our website, FeedWM.org/agencies/usdaforms/
All other Mobile Pantry hosts must use the Feeding America West Michigan Mandatory Sign-in. The information on this form can be useful in planning and possibly soliciting funds for future distributions. The Zip code gives us the ability to see how far people are willing to travel for food. The purpose of the "need" field can potentially be used when applying for grant funding. This form can be downloaded from our Mobile Food Pantry How-to webpage FeedWM.org/agencies/mobile-how-to
If you are unsure of the form you should be using, please contact our Agency Relations department.   

Feeding America West Michigan exists to ensure safe food is available to the hungry in our community.

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